Liv’s Intrigue 1 trail-bike was developed by women for women. Its geometry, suspension and contact points have been designed and chosen specifically to suit the female anatomy. But can you tell the difference on the trail and did the bike manage to impress our tester Antonia?
The Intrigue has been part of the Liv product lineup for several years now. For 2020, Liv, the sister brand of Taiwanese bike-colossus Giant, have introduced the aluminium counterpart to their popular carbon trail bike. The Intrigue was developed following the brand’s unique 3F design philosophy. In order to achieve optimal geometry, its engineers rely on thousands of data points describing the anatomy, proportions and strength of women. Similarly, the suspension is tuned to suit the needs of female riders.
Speaking of suspension, the Intrigue 1 features a 150 mm FOX 36 Performance Elite FIT4 fork and FOX FLOAT DPS Performance shock. Our test bike hits the scales at 13.38 kg and retails at € 3,410. The spec includes a 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, MAXXIS HighRoller II tires and a number of GIANT’s in-house components which have proven reliable so far. Unfortunately, the SRAM Guide R brakes with their small 180 mm rotors and the dropper post with a meagre 100 mm travel cast a dark cloud over the otherwise good initial impression. The brakes lack bite and consistency and take a toll on your hands on long descents. The short stroke of the dropper post restricts freedom of movement on the bike. Unfortunately, most riders won’t even be able to fit a longer travel dropper because the pronounced kink in the seat tube limits seatpost insertion.
Liv Intrigue 1
Fork FOX 36 FLOAT Performance Elite 150 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT DPS Performance 140 mm
Seatpost Giant Contact Switch Vario 100 mm
Brakes SRAM Guide R 180/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle 30 (10-50)
Stem Giant Contact SL 35
Handlebar Giant Contact TR35 780 mm
Wheelset Giant AM 30mm
Tires Maxxis High Roller II 2.5"/2.4"
Size XS S M L
Weight 13.10 kg
The geometry of the Liv Intrigue
At first glance, the Liv Intrigue resembles the GIANT Trance. Liv rely on GIANT’s proven aluminium construction but have gifted the Intrigue its very own geometry. All in all, the Intrigue is more modern than the Trance: the 66.5° head angle is 0.5° slacker and the 74.5° seat tube angle a whole degree steeper than the 27.5 version of the Trance. The 418 mm reach in size S reflects modern trends too. At 438 mm, the chainstays round off the balanced and modern geometry and should ensure good traction on the front wheel.
The Liv might not be the mountain goat amongst trail bikes but delivers solid climbing performance
Before embarking on a long adventure on your Liv Intrigue 1, you should push the saddle all the way forward, or you’ll be sitting too far back over the rear wheel. If you follow our advice, the riding position is nicely centred and allows you to master even long, steep climbs without breaking a sweat. In addition, the 30 t chainring provides a suitable gear ratio for anything you’ll face. It’s only on narrow and very technical climbs that you’ll have to work a bit harder to control the Intrigue. The rear end is pleasantly neutral when pedalling and doesn’t wallow or sink away in its travel. That means you can easily climb with the shock in open mode. Unfortunately, the climb switch of the FOX shock is a little bit too sensitive and likes to switch into trail mode all by itself – very annoying!
Agile and playful, the Intrigue is great fun on (almost) every trail!
While the intrigue does many things right, the short stroke of the dropper is incredibly annoying!
When you turn its nose downhill, the Intrigue tells you one thing: the Liv team has worked hard to develop a good-natured yet agile bike that is both easy and fun to ride – and they’ve succeeded! With its nimble character, the Intrigue implements fast direction changes willingly and responds to steering inputs quickly and with great precision. The handling is intuitive and the bike doesn’t require much time to get used to either! All of this translates into tons of fun on flat and flowy trails. The good-natured handling makes it easy to tackle tight downhill sections. The rear end is sensitive enough to deal with hard knocks but maintains enough composure to provide good feedback. In other words, you always know what’s going on. However, at high speeds, the Intrigue inspires little confidence and puts you off from stepping on the gas even more. If you like to smash down your local steeps at full pelt, you’ll be disappointed with the Intrigue and the Liv Hail might be a better option. Unfortunately, the short stroke of the dropper doesn’t allow you to push the seatpost deep into the frame, which means there’s a big chunk of the seatpost sticking out from the seat tube, getting in your way on steep technical trail sections. We recommend using a quick release seat clamp to lower the seatpost by hand before hitting a steep descent. The standard MAXXIS HighRoller II tires generate good traction on dry trails but struggle to match the outstanding performance of our favoured Minion DHR II. The latter generates far more grip and also provides a more universal solution.
Tuning tips push the saddle all the way forwards | bigger brake rotors | quick release seat clamp to adjust the saddle height on the go | upgrade the tires to Minion DHR IIs
The Liv Intrigue 1 knows to impress through its good-natured and agile handling and allows even inexperienced riders to have tons of fun on all sorts of trails. At high speeds and on steep terrain, the bike still feels in control but doesn’t motivate you to ride any harder. Unfortunately, the short travel dropper post and the poor brake setup cast a dark cloud over the otherwise great impression.
- good-natured, intuitive handling
- very agile
- good all-rounder
- low insertion depth of the seat post
- weak brakes
- rear-heavy riding position with a conventional saddle setup
You can find out more about at liv-cycling.com
Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of ENDURO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality mountain bike journalism. Click here to learn more.
Words: Antonia Buckenlei Photos: Christoph Bayer